I'm sure that I've seen it so that one is able to use
:<emoji and there's a pop up menu to select from, I can't seem to get this working though.
Coc is a plugin which allows you to get the same Language Server Protocol (autocompletion, linting, go to definition, etc...) as VSCode because it uses the same extensions as VSCode. This is a pretty powerful tool but installing it just to get emoji support might be a bit overkill.
However if you do use coc you can use
:CocInstall coc-emoji to get the emoji completion source, by default it is enabled only for the
markdown file type. And then inserting
: and the first letters of the emoji name gives you something like this:
To make it available on other filetypes you can use
:CocConfig to edit
You can use https://github.com/FuDesign2008/emoji-snippets.vim, which is working with YouCompleteMe